Sunday, December 31, 2006

A dictator created then destroyed by America

Robert Fisk
London Independent
December 30, 2006

Saddam to the gallows. It was an easy equation. Who could be more deserving of that last walk to the scaffold - that crack of the neck at the end of a rope - than the Beast of Baghdad, the Hitler of the Tigris, the man who murdered untold hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis while spraying chemical weapons over his enemies?

Our masters will tell us in a few hours that it is a "great day" for Iraqis and will hope that the Muslim world will forget that his death sentence was signed - by the Iraqi "government", but on behalf of the Americans - on the very eve of the Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, the moment of greatest forgiveness in the Arab world.

But history will record that the Arabs and other Muslims and, indeed, many millions in the West, will ask another question this weekend, a question that will not be posed in other Western newspapers because it is not the narrative laid down for us by our presidents and prime ministers - what about the other guilty men?

No, Tony Blair is not Saddam. We don't gas our enemies. George W Bush is not Saddam. He didn't invade Iran or Kuwait. He only invaded Iraq. But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead - and thousands of Western troops are dead - because Messrs Bush and Blair and the Spanish Prime Minister and the Italian Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister went to war in 2003 on a potage of lies and mendacity and, given the weapons we used, with great brutality.

In the aftermath of the international crimes against humanity of 2001 we have tortured, we have murdered, we have brutalised and killed the innocent - we have even added our shame at Abu Ghraib to Saddam's shame at Abu Ghraib - and yet we are supposed to forget these terrible crimes as we applaud the swinging corpse of the dictator we created.

Who encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, which was the greatest war crime he has committed for it led to the deaths of a million and a half souls? And who sold him the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds? We did. No wonder the Americans, who controlled Saddam's weird trial, forbad any mention of this, his most obscene atrocity, in the charges against him. Could he not have been handed over to the Iranians for sentencing for this massive war crime? Of course not. Because that would also expose our culpability.

And the mass killings we perpetrated in 2003 with our depleted uranium shells and our "bunker buster" bombs and our phosphorous, the murderous post-invasion sieges of Fallujah and Najaf, the hell-disaster of anarchy we unleashed on the Iraqi population in the aftermath of our "victory" - our "mission accomplished" - who will be found guilty of this? Such expiation as we might expect will come, no doubt, in the self-serving memoirs of Blair and Bush, written in comfortable and wealthy retirement.

Hours before Saddam's death sentence, his family - his first wife, Sajida, and Saddam's daughter and their other relatives - had given up hope.

"Whatever could be done has been done - we can only wait for time to take its course," one of them said last night. But Saddam knew, and had already announced his own "martyrdom": he was still the president of Iraq and he would die for Iraq. All condemned men face a decision: to die with a last, grovelling plea for mercy or to die with whatever dignity they can wrap around themselves in their last hours on earth. His last trial appearance - that wan smile that spread over the mass-murderer's face - showed us which path Saddam intended to walk to the noose.

I have catalogued his monstrous crimes over the years. I have talked to the Kurdish survivors of Halabja and the Shia who rose up against the dictator at our request in 1991 and who were betrayed by us - and whose comrades, in their tens of thousands, along with their wives, were hanged like thrushes by Saddam's executioners.

I have walked round the execution chamber of Abu Ghraib - only months, it later transpired, after we had been using the same prison for a few tortures and killings of our own - and I have watched Iraqis pull thousands of their dead relatives from the mass graves of Hilla. One of them has a newly-inserted artificial hip and a medical identification number on his arm. He had been taken directly from hospital to his place of execution. Like Donald Rumsfeld, I have even shaken the dictator's soft, damp hand. Yet the old war criminal finished his days in power writing romantic novels.

It was my colleague, Tom Friedman - now a messianic columnist for The New York Times - who perfectly caught Saddam's character just before the 2003 invasion: Saddam was, he wrote, "part Don Corleone, part Donald Duck". And, in this unique definition, Friedman caught the horror of all dictators; their sadistic attraction and the grotesque, unbelievable nature of their barbarity.

But that is not how the Arab world will see him. At first, those who suffered from Saddam's cruelty will welcome his execution. Hundreds wanted to pull the hangman's lever. So will many other Kurds and Shia outside Iraq welcome his end.

But they - and millions of other Muslims - will remember how he was informed of his death sentence at the dawn of the Eid al-Adha feast, which recalls the would-be sacrifice by Abraham, of his son, a commemoration which even the ghastly Saddam cynically used to celebrate by releasing prisoners from his jails. "Handed over to the Iraqi authorities," he may have been before his death. But his execution will go down - correctly - as an American affair and time will add its false but lasting gloss to all this - that the West destroyed an Arab leader who no longer obeyed his orders from Washington, that, for all his wrongdoing (and this will be the terrible get-out for Arab historians, this shaving away of his crimes) Saddam died a "martyr" to the will of the new "Crusaders".

When he was captured in December of 2003, the insurgency against American troops increased in ferocity. After his death, it will redouble in intensity again. Freed from the remotest possibility of Saddam's return by his execution, the West's enemies in Iraq have no reason to fear the return of his Baathist regime. Osama bin Laden will certainly rejoice, along with Bush and Blair.

And there's a thought. So many crimes avenged.

But we will have got away with it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Enduring Legacy of Gerald R. Ford

Gerald R. Ford: 1913-2006

Chris Floyd
December 28, 2006

I believe that the picture below tells us all we need to know about the lasting impact the presidency of Gerald R. Ford has had on the United States of America, the nation he so proudly led for a couple of years after pardoning the man who was at that time the biggest criminal ever to occupy the Oval Office.

Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld, President Gerald Ford and Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Cheney April 28, 1975

Yes, it was Gerald R. Ford who took those famously amoral and criminally incompetent backroom operators, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, out of the lower quadrants of the twisted bowels of the Nixon White House and raised them to the highest levels of American government, where, in one form or another, overtly and covertly, they have inflicted their primitive ideology and violent psychodramas on the nation, and the world, for more than three decades.

But Ford's enduring legacy is in no way exhausted by the glories of his bloodthirsty political progeny. For the sad occasion of the statesman's death is certainly a most appropriate time to recall what is probably his greatest geopolitical masterstroke: the green-lighting of Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor – an act of state-sponsored terrorism that killed more than 200,000 people. True, George W. Bush has now far surpassed that genocidal benchmark, setting new standards of pointless and barbaric mass murder in Iraq – but only with the help of Fordians Cheney and Rumsfeld!

I first wrote about the pivotal role that Ford, along with Henry Kissinger (currently the chief outside adviser to the White House, according to Cheney – hey, it's like the Nixon-Ford era never ended!), back in 2001, just after the release of declassified documents which had been gathered and published by the invaluable National Security Archive (see their report East Timor Revisited for more). As I noted in a follow-up report in May 2006:

...The documents were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act – in June 2001, before George W. Bush gutted the law – but only reported in December of that year by the Washington Post. Kissinger and Ford had long denied any prior knowledge of the murderous assault, even though they'd been feasting with the genocidal Indonesian tyrant Suharto the day before the troops went in. However, in a secret State Department cable, Ford and Kissinger actually told Suharto before the attack that "we understand the problem you have and the intentions you have" and "we will not press you on the issue."

Kissinger, ever mindful of the media angle, added in another love note: "We understand your problem and the need to move quickly but I am only saying that it would be better if it were done after we returned."

The murders were carried out with U.S. weaponry. Congress had restricted their use to defensive purposes only, but Kissinger blithely brushed this aside, assuring Suharto that America would "construe" the invasion as "self-defense rather than a foreign operation." Kinda like Hitler did with Poland.

Naturally, the December 2001 story was buried by the usual bull-roaring of Bush praise in the media. In fact, in the same issue of the Post in which news of the declassification first appeared, you might have been diverted from its revelations by a fascinating piece on the editorial page, a long disquisition on the new ordering of the world, penned by one of our most revered elder statesmen:

Henry Kissinger.

I also noted in the May post that on September 21, 1999, Sander Thoenes, a former colleague of mine at The Moscow Times, was murdered in East Timor, almost certainly by Indonesian military forces, while covering the last throes of Jakarta's fury before East Timor won its independence – another fact to be recorded with the high and mighty deeds of Gerald R. Ford.

[For more on how the enduring legacy of Gerald R. Ford in Indonesia has been erased from history, see this post from Dennis Perrin: Airbrushing the Dead.]

It's unlikely that we will hear very much about these aspects of Gerald R. Ford's enduring legacy in the innumerable encomiums that will fill the corporate media in the coming days. There the focus will undoubtedly be on the way Ford "healed the nation" by thwarting the course of justice and keeping the most depraved operators of the Nixon gang in power. But as a public service, we thought it only fitting to recall these triumphs of the 38th President of the United States.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fox Guest Says Joy Behar, Matt Damon & Keith Olbermann Should Be Rounded Up And Put In Detention Camps Because They're Traitors

Mike Gallagher wants to turn America into Nazi Germany

News Hounds
December 19, 2006

Today in a segment on Fox On Line with Bill Hemmer, he had two guests on to talk about Joy Behar's comparing Rumsfeld to Hitler. One of the guests pulled a Gestapo move on the conversation with his rounding up people to send to detention camps.
The following is my transcription between Bill Hemmer, right wing radio host, Mike Gallagher and left wing radio host, Rob Thompson.


Bill Hemmer: They talk about Godwins Law, internet junkies, as discussions grow longer someone makes a comparison to Hitler and that person loses the argument. The view, Joy Behar weighing in on the Times Person of the Year.

Video Clip of Joy Behar: "I don't think anyone cares anymore about Time Magazines Person of the Year. You have to put like a Hitler type, like you put Donald Rumsfeld there or something."
Onscreen is a picture of Hitler and Donald Rumsfeld side by side and the words 'The View from the Left?'

Bill Hemmer: Rob, can you defend that?

Rob Thompson: Who can? Godwins Law stands true in all instances. Nobody believes he's like Hitler, c'mon.

BH: I like Joy Behar. I think she's smart. I think she's funny but this is a bit inexcusable, Mike?

RT: Now, if she'd have said something like Rumsfeld alone or Rumsfeld is a lot like Bob MacNamera, we'll put him on the cover of Time Magazine.

Mike Gallagher: You know it's a little bit ridiculous that we continue to watch these TV stars and movie stars who smear our leaders. I just wonder, Rob, if you'll think for a moment what our enemies think (Comment: Now our enemies are watching The View?) of seeing TV personalities comparing the outgoing Defense Secretary to Adolph Hitler. I mean, you know, conservatives never get a pass. Strom Thurmond is wished a Happy Birthday by Trent Lott and the sky falls in on Trent Lott. But if Joy Behar goes on national TV and compares a good man like Rumsfeld to the evilest man in the world and there's no repercussions for Joy Behar. You know, I think we should round up all of these folks. Round up Joy Behar, round up Matt Damon, who last night on MSNBC attacked George Bush and Dick Cheney. Round up Olbermann, take the whole bunch of them and put them in a detention camp until this war is over because they're a bunch of traitors.

RT: They're not traitors, they're Americans. You know what the great thing about America is? You get to say what you like and you don't get thrown into detention camps...

MG:..No, you don't...

RT: ...And that's what the rest of the world sees. They see free Americans say what they like without having any fear of going to jail. So, if I wanted to compare someone to Hitler or anybody else, Pol Pot, whatever it might be, I have no fear of going to jail because that is what an America is.

MG: There's such a thing as treason, Rob.

RT: That's not treason. That's just political talk and satire and it's a little funny at the least.

BH: Mike, what do you want? An apology from ABC, Barbara Walters, who runs the show? What do you want?

MG: Listen, I think we ought to have the same standard for Joy Behar that Rush Limbaugh was held to when he said Donovan McNabb was an over-rated quarterback. He was out. (Comment: Rush Limbaugh also said the league was eager to see a black quarterback do well in the NFL) Michael Richards is under siege right now, as he should be for his racist rant, but he's out. So why is Joy Behar not out? Why is Rosie O'Donnell not out? Why is Rosie O'Donnell not facing any consequences for going 'ching-chang, ching-chang, ching-chang' (he says this while he pulls at his eyes to mimic and make fun of an Asian person)? And making fun of Danny DeVito and slurring Asian Americans or comparing, she said radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam. These people ought to be held accountable.

BH: Almost out of time (overtalk)

JT: Mike, you just did it. And Danny DeVito? I don't know what that's about. And Rush Limbaugh was fired because he didn't know football. That was why he was fired and he called Donovan McNabb a couple of racist slurs. But the fact is he was (overtalk) wrong, McNabb is a great quarterback. Richards is suffering as well.

MG: Oh really? Hey, Rob, ask an Eagle fan if Donovan McNabb wasn't over-rated this year? He's out. Look, they're winning. Rob, you better watch your football.

RT: We'll talk football as well if you like. (more overtalk)

BH: Next week, Happy Holidays, see you guys.

Comment: It's so nice to see that Fox has professional guests on who suggest rounding up Americans who practice free speech and putting them in detention centers. It's ironic to say the least that this is what Hitler did.

Monday, December 18, 2006

FOX’s “American Dad” Christmas episode: Funniest damned thing I’ve ever seen

"American Dad's" Stan Smith........O' Reilly would LOVE this guy!

Episode: "The Best Christmas Story Never"
Aired December 17, 2006
FOX Network

The episode begins with the family in the town square. Roger (their alien pet that saved Stan's life at Area 51) is horribly depressed and drunk, complaining that since landing on Earth sixty years ago he's accomplished almost nothing; Stan (the Dad), however, is overjoyed, until he finds out that the Christmas Tree has been banned due to its religious nature.

He is further dismayed when more signs of secularism occur---the clerks at the mall aren't allowed to say "Merry Christmas," and the town goes so far as to rename the annual attacker, the Christmas Rapist, the "Holiday Rapist." Stan blames the whole thing on Jane Fonda---his logic being that her going to North Vietnam revitalized the dying hippie movement, and that since yesterday's hippies grew up to be modern liberals, modern liberalism is her fault. Stan finally becomes so enraged that he destroys the tree and the presents; the kids (Hayley and Steve) and Roger are horribly sad, and Francine (Stan's wife) is so mad she banishes him to the couch.

That night, Stan is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past (a former Tooth Fairy named Michelle), who takes him back to 1970. Stan, however, runs away from her, in an effort to find Jane Fonda in order to assassinate her, thus changing the future. The Ghost, unsure where he has gone, goes back to the present to get Francine; the two then return to the past to find Stan.

Stan has tracked Fonda down to a studio, where he finds out that Donald Sutherland was the one who led her to politics, and changes his plan to assassinate him instead. He finds her at a Hollywood party, where he happens to meet Martin Scorsese and convinces him to give up drugs. Francine and Michelle then grab him and bring him back to the present, where they are shocked to discover the street desolate, with Soviet tanks patrolling.

They eventually figure out what has happened---by getting Scorsese off drugs, they stopped him from ever making the movie Taxi Driver; as a result John Hinckley, Jr. never saw Jodie Foster in the movie and fell in love with her, which resulted in him never trying to assassinate Ronald Reagan. This dented his popularity in the 1984 election, as the near-death experience made him appear stronger; in the new reality he thus lost to Mondale, who quickly surrended the country to the Soviet Union. The group then goes back to attempt to fix what Stan did.

Stan decides to make the movie himself; however, he quickly alienates Robert De Niro and decides to make the movie with John Wayne instead. Unfortunately, this does not impress Hinckley, which means that the future remains changed. The Ghost then transports them to March 31, 1981, and tells Stan that the only way to fix the future is if he shoots Reagan instead. Stan is shocked; he is unable to shoot his favorite president. Francine reminds him how much he wanted Christmas, and points out that it wouldn't exist at all if the Soviets ruled; Stan replies that he doesn't care about trees and presents, but would be happy as long as he had Francine and the kids. The Ghost then informs him that in the alternate future Francine and Stan may never meet, meaning also that Steve and Hayley won't exist. Stan then decides that he must shoot Reagan, and shoots him. Just as he does, the two suddenly transport back into their bed on Christmas morning, 2006.

The two are relieved to find out that history is back to normal, and after fixing the presents and tree, the family enjoys a happy Christmas. The Ghost appears to Stan one last time to give him a gift for saving her job---a brand new gun he says he bought the previous night. When Stan asks how that is possible, as the Brady Bill requires a week waiting period, she informs him that he only shot Reagan and not Brady, meaning that buying guns is incredibly easy. Stan rejoices that he changed the future for the better.

Excerpt from show: This part probably made O' Reilly hard

(At the 99¢ Depot store)
Stan: One of your items, please.
Clerk: How about this cassette?
Stan: Is it 99 cents?
Clerk: It's $1.07 with tax.
Stan: You ever think about changing the sign?
Clerk: It's not really up to me.
Stan: Well, Merry Christmas.
Clerk: Happy holidays.
Stan: I, uh, said Merry Christmas.
Clerk: Happy holidays.
Stan: Just say Merry Christmas.
Clerk: Management doesn't want us saying that.
Stan: (Pulls out his gun, points it at the clerk's mouth) Just say it!
I just about pissed my pants laughing!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sean Hannity Gets In The Christmas Spirit By Joking About Stuffing A Toy Down A Liberals Throat

Another FOX News threat to inflict bodily harm made in the guise of a "joke"
News Hounds
December 15, 2006

Franklin Graham visited Hannity & Colmes Thursday night to promote his Operation Christmas Child which provides shoeboxes with gifts and, not so coincidentally, a book of the gospel, to children in developing countries. As he and Hannity reflected on the importance of keeping Christ in Christmas, Hannity held up one of the toys and "joked," "We can stuff this down a liberal's throat and shut him - make him quiet."

In addition to that Christmas spirit, there was a lot of talk about the "war on Christmas." Hannity said "We’re winning."

Graham was not so sure but he vowed to fight on… in the spirit of love and peace and doing his best to push everyone into worshiping the way he does. "I don't know if we're winning or not but you know I'm not going to back down." He added that he wants every child to know not only that God loves them but that "Jesus Christ is God's son who died on a cross for their sins and Christmas is all about Christ coming to this earth to save us from our sins." "And giving his life for us," Christian-spirited Hannity added.Graham said that when you give a gift to a child "in Christ's name, you're doing something for them that no one else has ever done before." That must be quite a risky venture because, Graham insisted, "We're living in a world that hates Christ, OK. We live in a world that hates not only his name but everything about him."

Nevertheless, Graham also told Alan Colmes that children don’t have to accept the Christian faith to get the gifts. Comment: No, just the booklet of the Gospel that goes with them.Then it was back to the war on Christmas and the attempt to take prayer out of school. As Graham spoke, Hannity was playing with one of the little stuffed animals that, presumably, was a sample of what the children would get. Hannity held up the animal and said, "Hey, Reverend, forgive me for sounding bad. We can stuff this down a liberal's throat and shut him - make him quiet."

Editor’s note:
by Larry Simons
December 16, 2006

Here we are with another example of threatening bodily harm by a FOX News employee made in the guise of a "joke". Of course, we know this isn’t the only example of bodily harm threats made by FOX News employees. Bill O’Reilly in July 2006 stated on the air that 9/11 truth activist Kevin Barrett "belongs in the Charles River floating down". In October, 2006, O’ Reilly once again threatened internet bloggers when he said, "I think I have to say President Bush has a much healthier attitude toward this (bloggers) than I do. Because if I can get away with it, boy, I’d go in with a hand grenade…" And who could forget FOX News contributer Ann Coulter’s threats that the New York Times should be sent Anthrax or when she wrote a column about Lincoln Chafee titled, "They shot the wrong Lincoln" implying HE should be shot.

This is simply amazing how these Neo-con assholes can get away with their repeated threats. The Neo-cons would say "ahhh, it was only a joke". First of all, a threat to do bodily harm is never funny, and second, they aren’t jokes. These son of a bitches mean every word of what they say. They say it on purpose and they say it without conscience. It doesn’t surprise me that Franklin Graham would chuckle after a physical threat was made by a Neo-con. Conservative Christians such as Graham are fearmongering, warmongering hypocrites who revel in taking advantage of the very weakest minds in America….that of non-thinking religious fanatics who delight in basking in their Strassian ideologies. They love authoritarianism so much, and hate liberalism so much they abandon individual and rational thought even to the point where they follow and support agendas they KNOW are lies.

These people are the REAL threat to freedom and the way of life we have enjoyed for the past 230 years. These people are the REAL threats to our Constitution and our most sacred documents and traditions. The most powerful terrorist on the planet will not and cannot take away our way of life, our freedom or our civil liberties…..but yet we are losing them on a daily basis. So, we are forced to ask ourselves….who are the REAL terrorists? Those who abuse freedom or those who literally take it away from us?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just Call Him Tony 'I Don't Know' Snow

FOX News was the perfect place to find the "man without a clue"

By Dana Milbank
December 13, 2006

To paraphrase Howard Baker's immortal question: What didn't Tony Snow know, and when didn't he know it?
The answer: A lot, and frequently.

When will President Bush roll out his new Iraq policy? "We do not know," Snow said at yesterday's White House briefing.

When did Bush decide to postpone the speech? "I don't know exactly when," the president's press secretary said again.

Has everyone working on the policy read the Iraq Study Group report? "I don't know," came the refrain. "I'm assuming -- but I don't know."

After Snow spoke multiple times of the "urgency" surrounding Iraq, CNN's Elaine Quijano asked him, innocently, "Tony, what does 'urgency' mean?"

"Well, I don't know," he said. "You guys keep using the term."

Quijano pointed out that Snow himself had used it, forcing Snow finally to spill the beans. " 'Urgency' means that you want it done as quickly as possible, and you want it done right," he proffered.

When Snow took over as White House press secretary earlier this year, reporters found it refreshing that he was willing to admit when he didn't know something. This has become rather less refreshing as Snow, while claiming access to Bush's sanctum sanctorum, continues to use the phrase -- more than 400 times so far in televised briefings and interviews. Sometimes, it seems more of a tic than a response; usually, it's a brushoff.
Why so many 'dunnos'? "Because I don't know all," Snow explained, knowingly.

On Monday, reporters wanted to know whether newly confirmed Defense Secretary Robert Gates would attend White House meetings on Iraq policy. "I don't know," said Snow. Would the Iraq experts visiting the White House talk about the Iraq Study Group's particulars with Bush? "I don't know." Was there anything in the report that the administration hadn't already considered? "I don't know. Again, good question. I don't know. I mean, there are some -- again, I don't know."

In recent days, the "I don't know" reply has greeted queries about whether the administration would talk to Iran and Syria, Pakistan's plans for Kashmir, benchmarks for reducing violence in Iraq, the process of preparing the federal budget, when Bush might name a new U.N. ambassador, and whether the president would address the nation about Iraq. Even the seemingly obvious -- whether Bush would be outlining "a different course in Iraq" -- stumped Snow. "I just -- I don't know," he said.

The causes of Snow's befuddlement have been large and small. What type of sculpture did Vladimir Putin give Condoleezza Rice? "I don't know." What books is Bush reading? "I don't know which they are." Will Bush send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq? "I don't know."

Occasionally, Snow employs a variant on the refrain: I'm not going to tell you. Asked recently whether Bush would say that the United States is winning in Iraq, Snow answered: "I'm not going to tell you what the president would say."

Unsurprisingly, this method has done some damage to briefer-questioner relations. It doesn't help that Snow, though admired for his quick wit, has been lobbing names at his inquisitors. After labeling as "partisan" a question from NBC's David Gregory last week, Snow accused CBS's Jim Axelrod yesterday of asking a "loaded" question; the two men exchanged unpleasant looks. Snow further branded a question by Fox's Bret Baier as "cynical" and one from Quijano as "facile."

The press secretary employed many variations on "not going to tell you" yesterday. ABC's Martha Raddatz pressed him to characterize Bush's talks with Iraq experts. "I'm not going to," said Snow. Caren Bohan of Reuters asked whether a personnel shakeup was discussed. "I'm not going to talk about anything that may or may not have been discussed," he said, adding: "I don't want you to interpret it either way, other than as a principled stonewalling."

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times took one more try at getting an account of the meeting. "I wanted to re-ask" the question, he said.

"Does that mean I have to re-not answer it?" Snow wondered aloud.

Questioning about Bush's meetings persisted, and Snow switched back to don't-know mode. He was asked about a New York Daily News report that Bush had claimed privately that historians would vindicate him, saying, "I'll be dead when they get it right."

"I don't remember that," Snow said.

"Can you confirm that he did not say that?" asked Victoria Jones of Talk Radio News Service.

"I don't want to confirm or deny, I just don't know," said Snow. "It doesn't sound like something he would have said."

Jones clarified the context. "Oh, I don't know," said Snow, contributing a final "who knows?" to the discussion.

It was getting late in the briefing. Raddatz tried one more time to pin down a likely date for Bush's Iraq rollout. "I honestly don't know, Martha," the spokesman said.

The cameras were shut down, and reporters crowded around Snow to ask him a few more questions before he left. The results were little changed.

Baier asked whether Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was the only lawmaker to meet individually with Bush on Iraq. "I don't know," said Snow.

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell asked about a replacement for the Saudi Arabian ambassador. "I don't know," said Snow. "I don't know. I really don't."

Watch clip:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Republican Senator Gordon Smith on Bush war policy: "It may even be criminal"

Senator clarifies days later that Iraq war is "a dereliction..and immoral"

December 8, 2006

In an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday night, Sen Gordon Smith, a moderate Republican from Oregon who has been a supporter of the war in Iraq, said the U.S. military's "tactics have failed" and he "cannot support that anymore." Smith said he is at, "the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up the same bombs, day after day.

"That is absurd," he said. "It may even be criminal."Smith said he has tried to quietly support President Bush during the course of the war -- and doesn't believe the president intentionally lied to get the U.S. into the war -- but now recognizes, "we have paid a price in blood and treasure that is beyond calculation" for a war waged due to bad intelligence.Moved this week by the findings of the Iraq Study Group, Smith said he needed to "speak from my heart. "I, for one, am tired of paying the price of 10 or more of our troops dying a day. So let's cut and run or cut and walk, but let us fight the way on terror more intelligently that we have because we have fought this war in a very lamentable way," he said. Days later on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Senator Smith had this to say:


STEPHANOPOULOS: … a stunning change of heart in the Senate.Senators Gordon Smith and Joe Biden join us live. Senator, why the change of heart on Iraq? What did it for you?

SMITH: Waking up the other morning and turning on the news andhearing that yet another 10 of our soldiers died the same way thatseveral thousand have…


SMITH: Wednesday — through roadside bombs. And I went fromsteamed to boiled. And I felt I had to speak out, because if we'regoing to be there, let's win; if we're not, let's at least fight the war on terror in a way that makes sense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said in that speech the current policy maybe criminal.

SMITH: I said it — you can use any adjective you want, George,but I have long believed, in a military context, when you do the samething over and over again without a clear strategy for victory at theexpense of your young people in arms, that is dereliction, that isdeeply immoral.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet, you also say the Baker commission report isa recipe for retreat. So what are you for?

SMITH: I am for fighting the war on terror against jihadists.When you get to being policeman in a sectarian civil war, that is notwhat the American people enlisted for. That's not what I voted for. I voted for toppling a chief terrorist and tyrant, ridding him ofweapons of mass destruction but not for being target practice in themiddle of a sectarian strife that we see, where hundreds of bodies aday are pulled out of the Tigris River, Sunnis and Shias who are butchering each other, really, over the question of who has therightful successor to Mohammed.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Actor James Brolin Latest Celebrity To Publicly Doubt 9/11; follows in footsteps of David Lynch on same day

Actor and director join growing list of celebrities speaking out against official story of 9/11

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet

December 6, 2006

Actor James Brolin, the husband of Barbara Streisand, has today become the latest celebrity figure to publicly question the official story behind 9/11, after he encouraged viewers of a top rated ABC talk show to check out a 9/11 truth website.

Brolin appeared as a guest on "The View" Wednesday morning and according to e mails we have been receiving in numbers, towards the end of the show the actor questioned 9/11 and urged the audience to check out the website, which is a website that purports to expose how the twin towers and Building 7, which wasn't hit by a plane, were brought down via controlled demolition.

We have received multiple reports that "The View", which airs live from the West Coast in Pacific and Mountain time zones, was pre-empted by breaking news of the study group on Iraq in Eastern and Central time zones.

Brolin's lengthy cinema and TV history includes major roles in The West Wing with Martin Sheen, The Amityville Horror, Capricorn One, and the upcoming Rambo movie.

He today joins film director and cult icon David Lynch in going public with his doubts about the official story behind 9/11. Lynch told Dutch television he thought WTC Building 7 was brought down via controlled demolition and that the Pentagon and Pennsylvania crash sites were suspicious due to the absence of evidence that a plane crashed at either location. Lynch also appeared on Dutch TV news to react to a clip from the Loose Change documentary and sounded off on several different aspects of how the official story is impossible.

The danger that the Democrats gaining control of the House and Senate would put Hollywood and leftists in general to sleep seems to have diminished in recognizing that the vast majority still understand 9/11 to be a seminal event and not just a symptom of the corrupt Republican Party.

Do Hollywood icons like Brolin and Lynch going public on 9/11 make or break the case? No - we have already presented the evidence and it has been vetted, peer reviewed and collated with the establishment of the 9/11 Truth Scholars. The effect that high profile figures have is to provide a huge magnifying glass that shines on 9/11 truth and generates more interest and reaches sectors of society that would not normally be touched by dry research alone.

We can only hope that Brolin and Lynch's actions will lead more Hollywood stars and others with high profiles from the entertainment world to feel more comfortable in stepping forth into the limelight, echoing the trailblazing example of Charlie Sheen, and using their platform to vocalize 9/11 truth.

Lynch and Brolin follow in the footsteps of other notable cultural figures who have spoken out on 9/11, such as Richard Linklater, Jesse Ventura, Matthew Bellemy, Ed Asner and Charlie Sheen. We should not forget that Sheen was the first major star to put everything on the line back in March of this year when he risked his career to heighten awareness of the fact that 9/11 is a cover-up, a sentiment now shared by the vast majority of the U.S. population according to the latest scientific poll.

Click below to hear Alex Jones' comments on these developments:

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Military Commissions Act in action

The Bush administration's treatment of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri ought to be shocking and horrifying. Instead, it is now not only depressingly familiar, but also something that is formally sanctioned by the U.S. Congress

By Glenn Greenwald
November 14, 2006

In 2001, al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was in the United States legally, on a student visa. He was a computer science graduate student at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where he had earned an undergraduate degree a decade earlier. In Peoria, he lived with his wife and five children. In December, 2001 he was detained as a "material witness" to suspected acts of terrorism and ultimately charged with various terrorism-related offenses, mostly relating to false statements the FBI claimed he made as part of its 9/11 investigation. Al-Marri vehemently denied the charges, and after lengthy pre-trial proceedings, his trial on those charges was scheduled to begin on July 21, 2003. But his trial never took place, because in June, 2003 -- one month before the scheduled trial -- President Bush declared him to be an "enemy combatant." As a result, the Justice Department told the court it wanted to turn him over to the U.S. military, and thus asked the court to dismiss the criminal charges against him, and the court did so (the dismissal was "with prejudice," meaning he can't be tried ever again on those charges). Thus, right before his trial, the Bush administration simply removed Al-Marri from the jurisdiction of the judicial system -- based solely on the unilateral order of the President -- and thus prevented him from contesting the charges against him.Instead, the administration immediately transferred al-Marri to a miltiary prison in South Carolina (where the administration brings its "enemy combatants" in order to ensure that the executive-power-friendly 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all such cases). Al-Marri was given the "Padilla Treatment" -- kept in solitary confinement, denied all contact with the outside world, including even his own attorneys, not charged with any crimes, and given no opportunity to prove his innocence. Instead, the Bush administration simply asserted the right to detain him indefinitely without so much as charging him with anything. Last month, Congress endorsed this behavior and expressly vested the President with the power of indefinite, unreviewable detentions when it enacted the so-called Military Commissions Act of 2006. And the Bush administration has wasted no time relying on that statutory authority to justify the exercise of this extreme detention power. From the AP today (Nov 14):

In court documents filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., the Justice Department said a new anti-terrorism law being used to hold detainees in Guantanamo Bay also applies to foreigners captured and held in the United States. Immigrants arrested in the United States may be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and may not challenge their imprisonment in civilian courts, the Bush administration said Monday, opening a new legal front in the fight over the rights of detainees.

The MCA authorizes the administration to detain any non-citizen (at least) as an enemy combatant and does not require that they be charged with any crime nor given an opportunity to prove their innocence. That includes resident aliens and foreigners who have legally entered the U.S.:

"It's pretty stunning that any alien living in the United States can be denied this right," said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney for Al-Marri. "It means any non-citizen, and there are millions of them, can be whisked off at night and be put in detention."

This is not a case of someone being detained on a battlefield or even overseas, nor is it the case of someone who entered the country illegally. He was in the U.S. legally and was detained while sitting at home. And just as he was about to start his criminal trial, the President essentially cancelled the trial and ordered him detained indefinitely and incommunicado. As Amnesty International has said with respect to this case:

The practice of detaining people incommunicado has been condemned by human rights bodies, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, as a human rights violation which can lead to other violations such as torture or ill-treatment or interrogation without due process safeguards. Access to a lawyer is an important safeguard to ensure that detainees’ rights are protected, not only with regard to criminal or other proceedings, but also with regard to conditions of detention and a detainee’s physical and mental health. Prolonged incommunicado detention or solitary confinement can in itself be a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Sermons like that about the value of basic individual rights and the imperatives of due process were previously delivered by the United States. Now, they need to be delivered to us, because we seem to have rejected them.The denial of habeas corpus rights is the most Draconian aspect of the MCA, as it authorizes detention for life with no real review and no meaningful opportunity to prove one's innocence. Sen. Chris Dodd said prior to the election that he regrets the decision not to filibuster the MCA: "I regret now that I didn't do it . . . This is a major, major blow to who we are." And Sen. Pat Leahy, soon-to-be Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has confirmed that he is "drafting a bill to undo portions of a recently passed law that prevent terrorism detainees from going to federal court to challenge the government's right to hold them indefinitely." That has to happen. At the very least, re-establishing habeas corpus rights for detainees is an absolute imperative. We simply cannot be a country that vests in the President the power to order people imprisoned for life with no real review of the charges against them, particularly when the detainees are not detained on any battlefield, and particularly when they are detained inside the U.S. There is no greater betrayal of the core principles of American political life than to have the federal government sweep people off the streets, throw them into a black hole with no contact with the outside world and no charges asserted of any kind, and simply keep them there for as long as the President desires -- in al-Marri's case, with respect to detention, now five years and counting. As always, the most extraordinary and jarring aspect of cases like this one is that these principles -- which were once the undebatable, immovable bedrock of our political system -- are now openly debated and actively disputed by our own government. By itself it is astonishing -- and highly revealing about where we are as a country -- that such precepts even need to be defended at all.
For the past 10 years, Glenn Greenwald was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. He is the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, "How Would A Patriot Act?", a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released May, 2006

Monday, December 4, 2006

Dollar Fall Is Catalyst For Predatory Global Government

Americans remain ignorant to 35% devaluation of their bank savings as skids are greased for introduction of Amero, North American Union

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
December 1, 2006

As the dollar goes into free fall and the housing market accelerates in sales yet plunges in price, the quickening of an agenda of economic catastrophe allied to the "solution" of predatory globalism and the creation of a North American Union is afoot, and it spells potential disaster for the livelihood of all Americans.

Home prices have dropped 24% in the last year and most of that fall has happened in the last six months. The dollar has devalued around 35% against its level six years ago and is being trounced by the Euro and Sterling.

A false impression of a rosy economy is being spun with the rise of the stock market. Former fed chief Alan Greenspan's doubling of the money supply and Bernanke's promise that the money supply will be doubled again leads to only one outcome. Common sense tells us that a dollar sink is inevitable and if the housing market isn't the place to put all these devalued dollars then that excess will chase the stock market. Taking into consideration the devalued dollar, the stock market is really at about 6,000 - not 12,000.

All the real indices of financial health tell us that the economy is in the toilet.

Treasury Secretary Snow and others have publicly stated their desire for a weak dollar, sending the foreign lenders who have been propping up the greenback, particularly Japan and China, heading for the hills and dumping the dollar.

The catalyst for this was comments made in November 2004 by Snow, when he told a seminar in London that, "The history of efforts to impose nonmarket valuations on currencies is at best unrewarding and checkered." The Japan Times reported that on the back of this statement, Tokyo traders began dumping the greenback and have continued ever since, leading to a situation today where the dollar recently fell to its lowest value in the world market in 15 years.

The excuse that a weak dollar should be privately encouraged to reduce trade and fiscal deficits is continually debunked by the fact that deficits with Japan and China reached all time highs - more than $200 billion with China in 2005 exactly a year after Snow's comments and continue to rise further this year.

Chieftains of industry and government like Dick Cheney, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are trying to creep towards the door in their sell-off of the dollar because they hold so much greenback and wish to quietly cash out. That process is now accelerating and it now appears a mad scramble for the door is about to ensue, to the cost of hundreds of millions of American citizens who remain completely ignorant to the fact that their bank account savings have lost 35% of their value just sitting there since 2001.

Talking heads and controlled media continue to assure Americans that the economy is booming and there's little to worry about. No doubt the dollar will rebound a little in a few weeks and they'll show a short-term graph of its steady climb over the past month, failing to display comparison charts going back six years which show the greenback heading straight down.

Establishment mouthpieces tell viewers to go back to sleep while former World Bank chief economist and nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz predicts a global crash - caused by the very predatory globalist policies of the IMF and World Bank that are still presented to us as the solution for economic turmoil.

A global crash and a totally devalued dollar that can barely rival the peso spells disaster for all Americans who wish to maintain their standard of living and not find themselves barefoot on the street in a bread queue.
But fear not, because the very predatory globalism that caused all this calamity in the first place has yet another answer to our prayers! It's the Amero, the North American currency that will unify the States, Mexico and Canada and its latest cheerleader is influential London investment firm VP Steve Previs.

The Amero would offer a nice umbrella under which to force through the Free Trade Area of the Americas and a North American Union, an eternal dream of the Rockefeller elite clique that is seeking to erect a one world government system by first aping the European Union in creating a single currency and trading bloc, again to the devastation of middle class America but to the delight of transnational corporations who can exploit cheap labor while putting millions of Americans out of a job.

The fed and the plunge protection team are not going to rescue the situation. Gold and silver continue to remain stable and steadily growing assets and we encourage all our readers to build a sizable portfolio in order to offset the coming meltdown that the cavalier and dangerous financial policies of the U.S. government, along with the ceaseless march towards global government, will inevitably engender.

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